This week in class, we have studied the Digital Divide. We’ve noted that the digital divide is not one, single divide — it’s not just the divide between the developed world and the developing. While many look at the divide from an international perspective, it obviously exists within the United States as well and is important to keep in mind. Therefore, I wanted to take a look at the divide that exists in San Francisco, where I’m from.
Scott James, a columnist for the Bay Citizen and for the New York Times, writes that the divide in San Francisco is most prevalent in the Latino community. James splits up the numbers of internet users into groups, and found that 82% of whites have internet at home, 77% of Asians do, and 70% of blacks also have internet at home, in comparison with just 50% of the Latino community. These numbers are severe, as internet both at home and in the office are fundamental for anyone who wants to communicate with the world and enter the global age. These numbers are also striking considering that the San Francisco Bay Area is known as the one of the “techiest” and innovate areas in the world — yet the innovation and success has not been felt equally in the area.
Fortunately, there are many NGOs in San Francisco that are working to bridge this divide. One such NGO, called Caminos, works to “enable low-income, Latina immigrants to create opportunities for self and economic improvement through access to technology”. They believe that through their work, they can help the Latino community break the repeating cycle of poverty and social isolation.